Thursday, August 15, 2013

Healthy Hands

Are you tuning in today for my Bride Street segment on Healthy Hands with the gorgeous Caroline?
Hands are how we communicate with people through touch - and having healthy hands and tidy nails is a way to also show the World that we are well-kept and, at times, a professional.  When I shake hands with someone, man or woman, and their hands are rough or very dry, I often find myself wondering why they don't care for their hands - and I have a different impression of them than I would if they had trimmed nails and smooth skin!

Have you ever heard the saying that you can tell someones age by looking at their hands?  Even though that originated in old times when looking at someones hands would tell you if they were a middle-class laborer or an upper-class aristocrat that didn't need to dirty their hands - I feel that in a way it is still true today. By neglecting our hands they will age faster and can make us appear older than we are!

First, let's talk about what can cause hands to pre-mature age and dry out
1. Sun damage!  Our hands need daily SPF application AND re-application!  Keep a hand cream on your desk or in your car with an SPF in it!

2. Hot water - scalding hot water, from hot showers to washing dishes, strips the lipids in your skin.  This causes skin to pucker and crack.  You'll know you're suffering from this if you can clearly see the lines between skin cells on your hands (like the pic above)

3. Anti-bacterial over-use.  Hey, I am ALL for using anti-bacterial gel, I use it every time I leave a building or touch a public surface - but over-using this product can really damage your hands by having that same effect as hot water.  If you HAVE to use it constantly (teaching, nursing, handling money) try a lotion formula - or apply a moisturizer afterwards every few times.

4. A natural effect of aging, yes, as we age we lose the ability to hold in moisture.  So we need to not only work to remove the aging dead skin, but also moisturize in a lasting way!

5. Medications and other topical ointments can cause skin to crack and be dry. 

Steps to Healthy Hands

Exfoliate:  You need to remove dead and dry skin, but over scrubbing can strip skin and dry it out.  I've found the PERFECT product for exfoliating hands, I've been a fan of it for YEARS!

Crabtree & Evelyn's La Source Hand Remedy $26,default,pd.html?cgid=hand-care-scrubs#start=1

This scrub is super effective, but also contains ingredients like macadamia oil, that soothe skin as you exfoliate.  You might use this product and feel like you just applied lotion it makes hands so soft!!!

The next step in the Crabtree & Evelyn hand care would be the Hand Therapy $26

(also available in over 10 scents!)

You can give this powerful duo a try for only $12.50 by purchasing their 60-second fix in travel size!

You can also add in a treatment product to help prevent aging between the scrub and the moisturizer - and that is their $27 Age Defying Hand Remedy

(also available in pomegranate scent!)
This remedy had natural anti-oxidants in a very lightweight serum type formula that instantly sinks into skin!  Its just incredible and it will help prevent the signs of aging.  I highly recommend it for anyone 30 years old and up!

You can also make your moisturizer more effective by purchasing a pair of cotton gloves to wear after slathering on your product

Grab a pair at a beauty supply store for about $5 - you can do your exfoliation, treatment and moisture, put on the gloves and still stay active around the house (you can actually touch things!) while the product is working!  (but hey- I'm ALL for laying back with a book and relaxing while you do it too!)

You should exfoliate, treat and moisturize hands every other day - our hands take a beating and deserve treatment!

How to Maintain Healthy Hands

If your hands are especially dry and cracked, try this trick:  Apply a deep moisture treatment on hands while they are still wet out of the shower.  Its a special trick that dermatologists recommend for sealing in all the water that your skin just soaked up in the shower (within minutes it will start to evaporate below the surface - applying a moisturizer immediately will actually seal it in!) its also a great trick for all over the body!

Use an SPF, it doesn't have to be a specific one for hands, although if you find a hand cream you like with it in there - its a bonus!  I actually apply Lubriderm Daily Moisture SPF to my hands several times a day to protect them! ($10 at Walgreens)

Healthy Hands AND Nails!

Healthy nails make your hands look even more youthful and tidy - and for women, a manicure is a must! 

Trim cuticles

use a stainless steel disinfected cuticle trimmer to grab any hangnails or unsightly cuticles.  Note that you DON'T have to constantly cut your cuticles if you don't want to (don't bother if you aren't going to take the time to disinfect your tools and hands, it will just make cuticles get infected and red) but you SHOULD tidy them up!

Use cuticle oil

I am totally obsessed with Essie's Apricot Cuticle Oil ($8 at Walgreens or Ulta)!  It is so hydrating and it sinks in with a bit of rubbing and actually provides moisture that lasts.  I like to apply every night before bed, and the light scent is heavenly.  Bonus: it prevents hangnails!

File nails at least weekly

Pro Tip: NEVER file wet nails, they should always be at least 90% dry.  Filing wet nails makes them brittle and gives them microscopic tears that can lead to broken nails and chipped polish a day or two later

Thinking of changing up your nail shape, but don't know what to go with?  Check out this super fun chart:

Now you'll know what nail shape to try to give your hands the best chance of looking healthy and youthful!

Choose light and classic polish colors for youthful hands

lighter, softer colors make hands look younger and healthier - AND they can make short or stubby fingers/nails appear longer.  If you're blessed with great nails, then go for the funky colors, but if you're not, or you generally don't like a manicure - a pale pink will work best because you also won't notice chipping as much!

So there you have it!  A quick guide to Healthy Hands!

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